SUN, 16-Nov Bakki to Windhoek at 9 AM for N$200 pp. Comfortable 5 ½ hour ride to PC HQ. It was wonderful to reconnect with Group 40 peeps! Unfortunately, Evie and Zack were robbed. Evie had her bag snatched from the vehicle she was unloading and Zack was walking with two female PCVs when he was robbed at knife-point by two young men. The crime rate rises as we approach Christmas. After all, it is a Christian country.
We arrived at Greiters Resort, 15 km north of Windhoek, in the late afternoon. From our room we had the best mountain view we have enjoyed in Namibia and the accommodations were very nice. There we hooked up with the remaining Group 40 PCVs. It was great to see everyone after nine weeks of training together followed by seven weeks of separation! We then had a nice dinner with everyone and began to catch up. (All meals were included and served buffet style.)
MON, 17-Nov Monday began the official “Reconnect Schedule” most of which was useful information. Barbara and I did a short PowerPoint presentation on our 7-weeks in Keetmans and heard from most of the other 15 CED volunteers about their experiences and projects. It was gratifying to know I am not alone in wondering what lies ahead. Seven weeks is just enough time to identify what things you need to know about the future, not enough time to feel comfortable or do anything with that info.
Classes were scheduled for all day for four days and half a day on Friday 21-Nov.
Unfortunately, it did not go as planned.
TUE, 18-Nov Everything went well with presenters on the national procurement system, business plan development and Afrikaans training. The evening turned very sour when 2 or 3 of our volunteers lost valuables to theft. Evidently one or more young men from the local neighborhood targeted the “rich” Americans at the resort. Security was increased but that did not stop them from returning the next night.
WEDS, 19-Nov Sitting on the balcony in front of our room and suddenly Amy was screaming, “Stop that man! STOP HIM!” She was chasing a man down the stairs into the parking lot. He was clutching a rock and Sarah’s bag. He made a sharp right to the precipice of the lot and jumped down into the bush and disappeared into the dark. When I saw that Amy was considering pursuit I yelled, “AMY!” The wall was high and the drop was into thorns and garbage. A brave effort on Amy’s part, but, thankfully, she did not continue. Turns out that Sarah and Amy had been sitting in the room and yet the thief walked right in, grabbed what he could and bolted. A bit earlier the thief had walked into Scott’s room. Scott almost grabbed the guy, but just missed.
So we all went into lockdown for the night. Extra security was sent in. PC security staff came later that night and just as we were to fall asleep I heard a text come in. It was the PC Country Director informing everyone that they were unable to secure the resort, could not find other accommodations in town and we would all pack up in the morning and be sent back to our sites.
THUR, 20-Nov By lunch time we were in the shuttles back to Windhoek. It was not a complete or gratifying farewell for Group 40, but we remain connected in thought and memory.
Barbara had set up a meeting with Katerina at the Crafts Centre and we booked a 4-bunk sleeper compartment for the overnight train to Keetmanshoop N$95 pp for seniors. Janet and Magdelena shared the tiny “suite” with us and it was really a good trip with good people in good conversation. In fact, I think we all slept quite well.
FRI, 21-Nov Arrived around 7:30 AM in Keetmans and walked with Janet over to our place. She really appreciated the shower. We all enjoyed the coffee and scrambled eggs. Later that day Janet took a combi to her flat in Luderitz.
SAT, 22-Nov Back to the routine, we went grocery shopping for the week and after lunch I helped Harold to install awnings over the three windows that were getting too much sun. He is a talented and skilled guy, a welder, panel beater and all-around handyman, e.g. he makes the burglar bars and awnings himself.